College of Agriculture Blog

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ag Student Works with Commissioner of Ag and Food

Wade Campbell, a USU senior majoring in Agricultural Business, worked beside Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Leonard Blackham as the 2012 Utah Farm Bill was under discussion on Capitol Hill. Bill writing, drafting legislation and lobbying senators was an everyday experience for Campbell during his five month internship.

Every five years, the Utah Farm Bill undergoes editing and implementing. Careful consideration and a well thought out process regarding agriculture, the procedures and money it takes in order to keep the world of agriculture going in every state was the main topic of discussion.

This year, 150 million dollars was budgeted for distribution among the different states. Blackham wanted each state to have nine million dollars, but in regards to land acreage, no less than $500,000 will be given to each state.

In order for the state of Utah to receive a fair allotment of money, Blackham asked Wade to help put together a plan. Wade attended meetings with administration, as well as other task forces to discuss different options and gain better insights on the processes.

Later he met with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. He and the organization worked closely together to get all funds ready. Designing spreadsheets and discussing how the money should be distributed was just a small part of Wade’s time spent working with them.

He was also able to be a part of organizing Senate Bill 46. This bill was designed for conservation easements that would designate agricultural land to be used only for agriculture.

“The bill would have had a lot of positive impacts on the world of agriculture,” said Wade.

Being able to work with the commissioner everyday helped Wade learn more about the processes and challenges that go into making the world of agriculture run smoothly.

“I continue learning so much,” said Wade. “This internship and the experiences I have had will be something that I will refer to often throughout my future career.”

Writer: Sarah Hatch

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ag Student Finishes Capitol Hill Internship

Braden Jensen, a USU senior majoring in Agribusiness, Agricultural Systems Technology and Spanish completed his six-week internship on Capitol Hill.

Neil Abercrombie, USU Director of Government Relations who selected Jensen for this position was looking for someone who worked hard, who was a dedicated student as well as someone who had an understanding of political science. Jensen filled all of those requirements.

Jensen interned during the entire legislative session. He conversed with committee members on issues regarding higher education by attending meetings and listening to proposals. He also participated in presentations and discussions given by different universities.

Because of his knowledge and background in political science, Jensen played a major role in the decisions made at committee meetings, as he participated in discussing issues that universities were facing.

“This internship really opened my eyes to the politics side of things and how it affects not only higher education but agriculture and communities as well.” said Jensen.

Issues on matters of education and safety on campus were some of the legislative bills being discussed. Jensen talked with a number of senators and representatives while working closely with President Stan L. Albrecht to resolve specific issues.

The internship offered many opportunities and enabled Jensen to get a closer look at how legislative budgets work and what makes up each part of the political system.

“Seeing the dedication and commitment Neil and President Albrecht have to the overall well-being of USU really impressed me,” said Jensen. “It was an amazing opportunity and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Writer: Sarah Hatch

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Get Involved!

As a student in the COA one of my favorite things is being involved with different clubs.  Most clubs have monthly (or sometimes even weekly) activities that you can go to.  Some clubs even have annual trips to fun or exotic places that you can attend.

My favorite club that I’m a part of is the Dairy Science Club.  This is a newly re-vamped club that started strong again last fall.  Recently eight of us from the club had the opportunity to visit the central valley of California for the Western Regional Dairy Challenge competition.  This year there were 7 different universities there: Utah State University, University of Idaho, Washington State University, Texas A&M University, Fresno State University, California Polytechnic State University, and University of Alberta. 

At the competition we were split into groups of 5, being paired with students from all different universities (not just our own).  Then, over 2 days, we had about 6 hours of computer time and 3 hours of on-farm time to analyze and critic a local dairy.  The dairy we visited was called Double Oak Dairy and was milking around 1200 jersey cows.  It was our responsibility to decide what the dairy was doing well, what the dairy wasn’t doing well, and ways the dairy could change in order to be more profitable.  In the end each group came up with a PowerPoint presentation around 20 minutes long which was presented to a panel of judges that included local nutritionists, veterinarians and other dairy related specialists.  The judges then had 5 minutes to ask us questions about our results and then 10 minutes to give us feedback on our presentation. For more information on what the Dairy Challenge involves, look at this website:

This whole process was a learning experience.  Working with people who come from different universities and have different backgrounds allows you to both gain and share lots of different knowledge.  It is also a chance to practice teamwork, leadership, critical thinking and presenting skills.  While in California, our USU group also took the opportunity to visit a local cheese factory and a 500 cow dairy that is using ProCross (a dairy cross-breeding system).  Overall it was a great time and a fun way to spend a weekend. 

Next week, four of us from the club will be heading to the National Dairy Challenge which is being held in Roanoake, VA.  This will be a similar event with the only major difference being that each university has its own team so you are working with people you know.  We are looking forward to another fun experience there!

Overall I would encourage you, whether current or perspective student, to be involved with clubs.  There are so many great opportunities out there for students if you make an effort!  Going places, doing thing, and getting experience are what college is all about and what better way to do that than by hanging out with fun people who have the same interests as you!

-Karmella Dolecheck, Ag Ambassador

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Stories of a Senior in Spring Semester

As I finish out my final spring semester as an undergraduate at Utah State, I am happy to be involved in all the great things around campus. As an Ambassador (which, by the way, I love and will miss dearly), it has been my pleasure to be a part of the new Agricultural Sciences building as it has been completed and opened for business. For more information on that you can read earlier posts, I will simply say that it was a great experience and I look forward to seeing how the building will be used and enjoyed.
Another part of spring semester at Utah State is elections week! I’m not generally super involved with anything political but this year I had a really good friend running for office, and therefore offered to help him with his campaign. This included wearing the same shirt for four days with his face and slogan on it (don’t worry, I washed it), standing outside in the freezing cold to hand out fliers (yes, I am a really good friend), and talking to everyone I know and telling them to vote. And you know what I discovered? It was really fun! It also had some added benefits because I was able to talk to many of the other candidates and become familiar with their platforms, therefore making my vote more educated and allowing me to spread that knowledge to others I talked with.  
Braving the crazy snowstorms, the freezing winds and the random changes of weather that are always part of Cache Valley, but seem to be intensified this winter, has been another interesting part of this semester. During elections week we had some sunny times and some snowy times. During the various events for the Agricultural Sciences Building we would stand inside and watch it go from sunny to cold and blustery and suddenly start snowing. I think Mother Nature has a hard time making up her mind this winter? I’m not going to complain too much, though, because I have really appreciated the lack of snow. But despite the crazy weather, this has been a fabulous semester full of new adventures and wonderful experiences. As excited as I am to move on in my education by completing my student teaching in the fall and graduate (yay!), I am saddened to be leaving campus. But don’t worry, Utah State, I love you so much that I will be back next spring to start my graduate work. You can get rid of me that easily. Go Aggies!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Celebrating our Land-Grant Heritage

This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s signing of the Morrill Act of 1862 that established the land-grant system of public colleges and universities. This act would later influence the founding of the Agricultural College of Utah –now Utah State University– as Utah’s land-grant university. I had heard the phrase “land-grant university” before, but never really understood what it meant. I certainly do not claim to be an expert now, but I feel like I have gained a little better understanding and a great appreciation for this act that created access to public education across the nation. I also take more pride in the mission statement of USU “to be one of the nation’s premier student-centered land-grant and space-grant universities by fostering the principle that academics come first, by cultivating diversity of thought and culture and by serving the public through learning, discovery and engagement”.

In reflecting about recent events within the department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning over the last month or so I am reminded of how the goals of USU and the land-grant system to serve the public through learning, discovery and engagement have shaped my own education.

The LAEP department once again completed its annual Charrette, which is basically an intensive design workshop. Typically a local project or location is selected as the Charrette topic and students are tasked with producing design solutions to address specific problems and needs. During a one-week period, all LAEP students are divided into teams led by a student leader and each team focuses on one aspect. The process includes interaction with local residents, city council members, and mayors in developing solutions for growth, development and planning issues of an area. After a week of intense teamwork the groups present their ideas to each other and the local community.

This year our Charrette focused on the Bear Lake Region. We divided into 15 teams with topics addressing local and regional issues like growth and development of individual cities, parks, trails/trailheads, open space preservation and of course the lake itself. It was an incredible process as everyone in the department devoted their attention to the issues facing the Bear Lake Region. Through discussion and research we addressed specific concerns of communities and regional groups and produced ideas that we feel will help citizens in that region to recognize the potential the Bear Lake Valley has and how they can play a role in shaping its future. We are excited to take those ideas back to the community in a formal presentation in Garden City on March 28!

The Charrette is a greatly anticipated event each year in LAEP because of the real-world experiences it provides and because it gives us a chance to serve the public as a land-grant institution should: through learning, discovery and engagement.

I invite everyone to check out our final 2012 LAEP Charrette posters for the Bear Lake Region which are hanging up in and around FAV Room 221 through mid March, and I would certainly encourage everyone to stop by the photo exhibit describing USU’s history as a land-grant university located in the Merrill Cazier-Library until March 27th!

--Allan Perry, Ag Ambassador

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Most exciting place on campus!

The College of Agriculture is an exciting place to be at this point in time. First, the new Agricultural Sciences building stands next to the quad as the newest addition to the beautiful campus of Utah State University. We are excited for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will be on the 29th of February. President Albrecht will be there along with various donors, faculty and students to celebrate this amazing moment in Utah State University history as well as the College of Agriculture. This building is stationed as a monument as it mirrors Old Main, which stood for so long as the Agricultural College of the state of Utah. We are proud of how this University started and the roots that made this school what it is today.  We hope that everyone will join us on the 29th for the ribbon cutting of the new building!!!

Next, the new 2012-2013 Ambassador applications are due on the 17th of February. I personally am excited to see and meet the new ambassadors for the upcoming year. It will be sad to see those ambassadors who have done so much this year and past years to leave. I have become great friends with them and hate to see them go. But I look forward to those who will carry on as the new College of Agriculture Ambassadors!!
The new Vet program, which is a 2-2 year program connected with WSU, has accepted their first students. It is exciting to see this new program get started. With such a few number of Vet schools now in the U.S., Utah State University will continue to show why it’s the best school in the state of Utah and one of the premier universities of the great United States. This program will bring so much to the College of Ag and we look forward to it.

We look forward to the incoming students who will join us at the College of Agriculture in the upcoming year. Like I said, the College of Ag is the most exciting place on campus. So many things are happening and we are proud of where the college is headed.

-- Kyle Tuttle, Ag Ambassador

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Building is Coming Soon!

I hear it all the time….what’s that new building on the quad? It looks pretty cool. That’s right it’s pretty cool – it’s the new Ag Science building, and it’s almost finished! Everyone in the College of Ag can’t wait for the end of this month to roll around for the ribbon cutting ceremony and to be able to finally see the final product of what has been in the making for years. The new building will house a few of the departments of the college, offices, classrooms, and even a cafĂ© (yes, they will be serving Aggie Ice Cream!) on the ground floor. Best of all, the folks over at Aggie Ice Cream are concocting a new flavor in honor of our awesome new building. So come on over and check it out. We’d love to take you on a tour of campus and show you what the College of Ag is all about.

-- Jillian Cartwright, Ag Ambassador

*The Ribbon Cutting for the new Agricultural Sciences Building will be on Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. in the buildings lobby.